10 Cape winemakers to watch

 Craig Sheard, Elemental Bob

Craig SheardAdding a South African accent to the natural wine movement is Craig Sheard, better known to his friends and followers as Elemental Bob.

After tinkering away with his own project for a decade while holding down a day job with other wineries, 2015 is the first vintage where quantities have been big enough – 17 barrels of white and 10 of red – to justify exploring export markets.

This expansion has been aided by the steady development of a more receptive audience for this type of minimal intervention winemaking. “Ten years ago people didn’t really understand what I was doing,” recalls Sheard. “But then they wanted to understand where their food came from and now it’s the same for wine.”

With names such as “My Chair” – a Verdelho/Chenin/Viognier/Semillon blend from several cooler sites in the Western Cape – and “Cosmic Flower” – a Merlot/Cabernet Franc/Cabernet Sauvignon blend from Hemel en Aarde – it should come as no surprise that these wines are a philosophical world away from the big brands.

“I want my wines to show a bit of soul,” muses the softly spoken Sheard, who is not averse to trying his hand at creating Madeira-style wines using an incubator or drying grapes on his roof. “I don’t want clinical wines, but I don’t want faulty wines either.”

With only small quantities produced and variable availability of certain vineyards, don’t expect to be able to track down the same wine every vintage. Looking ahead, Sheard outlines plans for a slightly different approach, saying: “Eventually when I find the right place I want to make single vineyard wines – but a little left-field.”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Please note that comments are subject to our posting guidelines in accordance with the Defamation Act 2013. Posts containing swear words, discrimination, offensive language and libellous or defamatory comments will not be approved.

Subscribe to our newsletters

Sales Executive

Elixir Distillers
Home or Office based with International Travel, UK

London Sales Account Manager

Negociants UK Ltd
London, UK

Awards Wine Checker

Decanter
Paddock Wood, Kent, GB

Customer Service Advisor

Amathus Drinks
Park Royal, London, UK

Sales Manager

James Eadie Ltd
London, UK

Wine Ambassador Role

Ramón Bilbao UK
London, UK

Fine Wine Logistics Coordinator

IG Wines
London, UK

Sales Manager

Top Selection
London, UK

Assistant Retail Manager

The Whisky Exchange
London, UK

Marketing Manager

Ellis Wines
Hanworth, Middx, GB

The Global Spirits Masters Lunch

London,United Kingdom
1st Dec 2017

International Bulk Wine and Spirits Show

London,United Kingdom
26th Feb 2018
Click to view more

Champagne Masters 2017

The only Champagne blind tasting in the UK, the competition will reward the best wines in the following categories:

The Global Rosé Masters 2017

With wines from the palest of pink to almost ruby red, bone dry to almost cloyingly sweet, reductively handled to barrel-aged, as well as gently spritzy to fully sparkling.

Click to view more